Xlab Carbon Wing Installation

Note: Read the comments, because there is an important update in there about the missing nuts.

I’m sure I’m going to love my Xlab Carbon Wing, once I get it all installed, but the installation is a bit of a pain. Seriously, Xlab guys, you need to improve the instructions a bit. They suffer from being written by people who know what they’re doing, meaning there are things that aren’t easily understood by someone who has never installed an Xlab Carbon Wing, nor seen it done, nor has someone to help them who has done it.

1. The photos on the instructions are grainy and it’s hard to see what’s going on. I thought I might be able to download a higher-res version online, but when I found the Xlab Carbon Wing installation instructions it was the same doc I already had. I was able to zoom in a little on some of the photos, but it’s still hard to make some things out.

Suggestion: Include higher-res photos in the online version that are very clear when zoomed in on, or even better, get a professional designer to do some nice diagrams. It’s easier to see details on a diagram because you can leave out things that are confusing in a photo.

2. On the instructions…Figure B. I couldn’t tell from this which holes I was supposed to be putting the screws in first. I ended up putting them in the wrong holes, but once I tried to attach it to my saddle I saw my error and switched it.

Suggestion: Label the holes on the Carbon Wing with small letters (A, B, C, etc.) and then have the instructions say “Put a screw in hole A…”

3. Step e. It was really hard to get the second set of screws through the holes. I had to fiddle around for 10 minutes. I’m not sure there’s a good solution to this, but man it was tough. But the hardest part was trying to push the Carbon Wing towards the back of the saddle and down the rails with my thumbs, as the instructions show. I was pushing as hard as I could, bruising my thumbs, and nothing was happening. I thought I had the screws as loose as they needed to be, but it turns out once I loosened them just a little more then it slid around the corner and into place without too much effort.

Suggestion: Put a note in the instructions saying “If you are unable to push the Carbon Wing around the corner and into place, loosen the screws slightly and try again.” or something like that.

4. Figure G. This is another place where a diagram would be a lot better than the photo.

Suggestion: Diagrams vs. photos.

5. Step i. I have two questions here that I’m still trying to get answered; 1) shouldn’t there be washers between the nuts on the inside and the carbon material of the Carbon Wing? I’m new to carbon fiber, but it seems like screwing that nut down tight is going to gouge the carbon fiber, and having a washer would be a good idea. Or is a washer not really necessary? 2) where’s my missing nut? Once the Carbon Wing is installed on your bike, there are four screws left, and you would think there would be four nuts left as well, but I only have three. As I went to install my bottle cages, I could install one, but not the other, due to the missing nut.

Suggestion #1: Include washers if they’re needed, or maybe specify that washers are not necessary and that tightening the nut down against the carbon fiber is ok. Of course I’m just ignorant, so maybe nothing needs to be done because everyone else knows this except me.

Suggestion #2: I think it’s definitely a good idea to include nuts for all the screws. I’m sure this was just a one-time mixup and I’m the rare victim, but hey, quality isn’t just about the hardware itself, it’s also about making sure the hardware is there.

Suggestion #3: Always provide spare hardware. I bought the Xlab Gorilla carbon water bottle cages, which come with two mounting screws for each one. However, they don’t include nuts at all. Since I bought two and they’re both this way, I assume that’s how they’re meant to come. But it would be really nice if they had included nuts, since this would give me the extra nuts I need and solve my problem.

6. Step j. After #5 above, you can imagine my confusion when the instructions say “The extra Nylock nut is for fitting the optional Xlab Xnut to hold CO2 cylinders…” Wait, so I’m actually missing two nuts?! Great, not only can I not install one of my cages, but I can’t install my Xnut either, until I get two more nuts.

Suggestion: Make sure all the nuts are there.

Once again, I’m sure I’m going to love this product once I get it installed. I just wish the instructions were a littler easier to read and understand, and I wish the two missing nuts weren’t missing since now I’m going to have to make a trip to Home Depot or a bike shop or somewhere and spend another hour figuring this out, and meanwhile I’m already an hour behind on getting out the door to go on my ride.

  • http://bob bob

    it took me a long time to figure out mine as well. as i recall, i eneded up going into the bike shop to have them figure it out for me after lots of cursing. i love it though.

  • Joshua

    Yeah, I have finally gotten it installed now, although I’m still trying to get some other things figured out before I go out on the bike…and the temp is now up to 83 instead of 75 and it’s supposed to get up to 100 today but I can’t put this off until tomorrow…argh. I really wish I had those two nuts.

  • http://bob bob

    i have 2 nuts….

  • Joshua

    Ha, I found out that it is indeed my fault, sort of. Turns out that when attaching the Carbon Wing to the saddle, I used four nuts, although the screws actually screw into the plate, negating the need for nuts to be used there where I was using four. It’s true that the instructions don’t tell you to put nuts on these screws, but if you look at the photo Fig. C on the printed instructions that came with the Carbon Wing it looks like there are nuts on the ends of the screws, although the photo is the same photo that is used in the online PDF and that PDF definitely does NOT show nuts on the ends of the screws. It’s almost as though the photo on the printed instructions was edited to make it look like nuts.

    So, my suggestion would be, once again, to use diagrams instead of photos on the printed instructions so the grainy, low-res photos don’t cause confusion.

  • Joshua

    I spoke too soon. On my ride today I noticed my bottles were harder to get out of the cages attached to the Carbon Wing. When I got off my bike, I noticed the Carbon Wing was loose and moving around. Turns out one of the screws (now no longer secured with a nut) had fallen out, and the other was totally loose. The wing was still being held on by two screws with nuts, but while that was keeping it attached to the bike just fine, it was also allowing it to move around a bit. The sad thing is I didn’t get any more hardware from PowerTri, so now I’m going to have to drive/bike back down there sometime to get some. Argh.

  • Joshua

    So I went down to PowerTri yesterday, they gave me a spare set of hardware, and this morning I spent 20 minutes taking my saddle off, getting the Carbon Wing on there solid, and putting the saddle back on. All of this would have been easier with one of those bike holder thingies they have at bike shops, and the proper tools. I really need to get a wrench that fits those nuts. I was using a large crescent wrench that had issue fitting where it needed to go.

    But the wing on their tight now, and I suppose it is great, although I’m still getting used to feeling two cold bottles of gatorade pressing against my behind while I bike.

  • Marc

    I have a carbon wing and gave up …

    Whatever I do, the system gets loose after few hundreds of kms.
    This can really spoil your IronMan race.
    I even tried to put some Loctite on the screws (the blue one) but no way …

    Good Bye Xlab.

  • Joshua

    I am now installing this same system on my bike for the second time, and unfortunately nothing has been fixed. I’ve been working on it for almost two hours. I’ve got the wing attached, but I went to put the bottle cages on and whoops! No nuts for the screws. Why would they include screws with the cages but no nuts, when there is no way to attach the cages without nuts? Ah…I guess they’re thinking I’m going to attach the cages to my frame instead of the carbon wing. Maybe if I bought the Xlab system it would come with all the required nuttage, but PowerTri doesn’t sell the system, they just sell all the individual parts, which means I’m short four nuts. It would be really, really nice if Xlab included nuts with the $56 carbon cages, just in case you need them.